By Marv Knox
If you’ve been wondering how to directly help immigrants seeking asylum in the United States, Pastor Carlos Navarro can tell you how to lend a hand. Actually, how to lend a backpack.
Navarro and Iglesia Bautista West Brownsville operate an immigrant relief shelter (and Fellowship Southwest provided the funds to build a new facility) in Brownsville, Texas, just across the Rio Grande from Matamoros, Mexico.
Immigrants come to Navarro after customs officials release them to travel across the U.S. to stay with sponsors while they complete the asylum process.
The church and Navarro make sure the immigrants feel the love of Christ—in the form of a nutritious meal, fresh clothes, often a shower, and a goodie bag of food and supplies before they head to the local bus station.
The Salvation Army just provided a shipment of enough supplies to help 2,000 immigrants, Navarro reported. He plans to distribute them through the respite center and also share them with Pastor Eleuterio González and Iglesia Valle de Beraca, who serve migrants clustered in camps and shelters in Matamoros.
Asked how friends can help, Navarro replied: “Send backpacks.” The immigrants need something to carry their new clothes and supplies.
To donate new backpacks, ship them to: Pastor Carlos Navarro, Iglesia Bautista West Brownsville, 925 W. St. Charles St., Brownsville, TX 78520
Or to provide funds for Fellowship Southwest’s Immigrant Relief Fund, which supports Navarro, González and a network of pastors who serve refugees along the U.S.-Mexico border, click here.
Marv Knox is coordinator of Fellowship Southwest, a network encompassing Arizona, New Mexico, Northern Mexico, Oklahoma, Southern California and Texas.